Hello everyone! Today we are going to tackle the issue of our oral health needs at home – a term called oral health home care. As most people are aware, there are two major aspects of oral health care – home care (what you do at home) and professional care (what the dentists or other oral health specialists do for you or with you).
Oral health, according to Fédération Dentaire Internationale(FDI), is defined as being multi-faceted and includes the ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without pain, discomfort and disease of the craniofacial complex.
Yes, I know some of these words are technical but I would throw some light on these soon. Multi-faceted just means in different aspects. Craniofacial complex refers to the structures of the head and facial regions. Surprisingly, this is also the most distinguishing of all structures in the human body when it comes to imparting unique identities to individuals [www.springer.com/chapter/10].
The focus of today’s post would be on the importance of oral home care. Oral home care is the set of protocols, recommendations or instructions one practices on their own at home to help maintain their oral health. This is particularly important from a statistical point of view because there are more patients than there are enough dentists to attend to them all. What this means is that even if we dentists want to spend all our time with you during your twice-annual routine visit, we cannot realistically meet this target because we have other patients we are obliged to also see. Notably, if your oral home care is on point it becomes increasingly beneficial to you when you visit your dentists. How?
Picture this analogy, imagine you brush your teeth consistently twice daily for each of the 365 days in a year. Let’s say averagely you take about 2 minutes per brush session, which means 4 minutes each day. Now when this is multiplied for the year this comes to about 30 hours, which is far more than your routine annual two hours dental visit would last.
Not only is this daily investment in your mouth going to help prevent some of the commonest forms of oral diseases like dental caries(cavities) and periodontal( gum) diseases but it can also help lessen the need for subsequent more extensive and expensive dental procedures in the future – something we all don’t want you to go through unless it is absolutely necessary. This is why good oral home care like twice daily brushing, daily interdental cleaning, the use of appropriate fluoridated toothpaste, etc. are very important.
Now let’s delve into what makes a good oral home care. What makes up good oral home care? To answer this question we must bear in mind that we as humans have varied health needs. There are the needs for the general population called general recommendations, those that apply to specific individuals called personalized care and lifestyle considerations that are meant to enhance oral health and wellness. The above categorization was developed by the American Dental Association in 2017.
The general recommendations involve what most of us are already aware of and some of us are already doing. Examples are brushing your teeth twice daily, using a fluoridated toothpaste, cleaning in between the teeth daily, eating healthy diets that are limited in the content of sugar and finally seeing your dentists twice a year for dental prophylaxis and treatment of periodontal diseases.
The personalized recommendations can be viewed in the sense of one having a tailored suit that is unique to that person alone. In other words, these are recommendations that are tailored uniquely to certain groups or individuals among the general population, who are at an increased risk of certain diseases. These recommendations include the design of personalized home care regimen specific for oral hygiene, direction concerning lifestyle changes, guidance on the use of some dental products and mechanical devices for an improve oral home care.
With regard to lifestyle considerations, dentists can provide, promote or direct patients to information on lifestyle behaviors and/or services that can aid in reducing the risk of problems and improving overall oral health. Examples include avoiding quack dentists, tobacco products, oral piercings, and acquiring the behaviour of consuming fluoridated water.
Dear reader, I hope this post has been helpful and that it would inspire you in making healthy choices easily from now onwards. Remember, your oral home care is very important and can make your oral health last a lifetime.
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